Want to know how bakers make perfectly round-shaped bread? The secret is the bread proofing basket. If you haven’t heard about it before, you will surely recognize it when you see it. The basket is made of wood, and it’s round in shape that imprints beautiful design on bread, and gives a perfectly round shape.
Although these baskets don’t cost much, you will face a hard time finding one. However, there are some alternatives that are made of wicker or plastic material. Your bread will come out in a perfectly rounded shape using a proofing basket substitute.
Why Do People Call It Proof, Not Bake?
I was wondering why it’s not a baking basket? What’s the thing with proofing? If you have the same curiosity, well let’s find out.
To have soft and fluffy bread, you must let the bread rise while baking. It activates the yeast; thus, the more time the bread bakes, the bread becomes lighter and fluffier.
Proofing is the technique that keeps the dough in place to make delicious flavor out of it while letting the upper portion of the dough rise perfectly to achieve your desired texture.
So, in other words, without proofing, your bread will become too soft and fluffy to eat, and there will be less soft portion at the bottom of the dough.
Why Should You Get a Proofing Basket for Baking Bread?
Technically, you don’t need a proofing basket to bake bread. You will be able to bake bread without it perfectly fine. But, the round shape isn’t something guaranteed when you bake it without this specialized basket.
So, when it comes to baking perfectly round-shaped bread, or you want to add a soft pattern, you must need such a basket to have these things in your bread.
Due to the coils in a proofing basket, when you leave the dough for a certain period, the coils imprint its design onto your bread. Small bakeries make bread with such a pattern.
Therefore, you should use a proofing basket when
- You want a perfectly round bread
- Having a spiral pattern around the bread is something you want
- You want to make sure the temperature is well controlled for the bread to rise perfectly without spreading too much
However, a bread proofing basket isn’t your concern if
- You don’t want to take the hassle of finding one
- A round-shaped loaf is something that doesn’t make much appeal to you
- Having a design pattern on the bread isn’t of your kind of thing
If finding hassle is the reason why you are not interested in baking your bread in a proofing basket, I can inform you about some alternatives that do the job perfectly. Most of all, these alternatives are easy to find.
Alternatives to Bread Proofing
You have searched all nearby kitchen stores, and also asked some of your friends if they can find you one. But all attempts were failed. You can still achieve the perfect round shape in your bread using an alternative to proofing basket. I will suggest some easy alternatives, which don’t cost much as well.
1. Plastic Container
The first alternative on the list is plastic containers. Yeah, you can pretty much get a container easily from a nearby kitchen store.
If you have any large plastic container in the house, then you don’t even have to spend money buying one. A square-shaped container will be more than enough to get the necessary space to proof the bread dough.
Obviously, your bread will not come in round shape. But, it will have a nice texture and a decent rise. Sadly, the bread will not have any pattern onto it unless your plastic has such designs.
Reasons to Use a Plastic Container
- The bread dough gets a nice rise. Professionals use large plastic containers to proof larger doughs
- It will be much more easier and convenient to remove the bread dough
Reasons Not to Use a Plastic Container
- Dough will not get a round shape
- No pattern on the bread
2. Wooden/Ceramic/Metal Bowl
Another great proofing basket can be your regular bowl, which is made of wood or ceramic. The bowl will make the loaf nicely rounded, and it will even have a rise as well.
Even though I mentioned metal bowl, if your cooking or baking skill is at the beginner level don’t use one unless you have no choice. If metal gets too cold or hot, it will be difficult for you to control the temperature and rise of the bread.
Reasons to Use a Wooden or Ceramic Bowl
- You will get round-shaped bread similar to bread proofing baskets
- It will have an even rise
- The dough is easily transferable in other bowls
Reasons not to Use a Wooden or Ceramic Bowl
- Requires adequate oiling or flouring, otherwise, it would be difficult to remove the baked bread
- The round shape will not be as good as a bread proofing basket
- No pattern onto the bread
If you are to choose between using a plastic or metal bowl, this comparison will help you to decide regarding the matter.
3. Bowls and Fabric (Pattern Option)
This alternative proofing basket will require some additional things to do. You need to collect a perfect-sized bowl and some fabrics with patterns that are raised from the actual fabric surface. The raised pattern will imprint the design onto the dough similar to the coils in the proofing basket.
Now, to make arrangements for the pattern, drape the fabrics evenly in the bowl. Then, gently place the dough inside the bowl to prove it.
Reasons to Use Fabric in a Bowl
- The bread gets a nice round shape
- Pattern onto the bread looks great
Reasons Not to Use Fabric in a Bowl
- Baking that requires too much flour, can make the pattern to slide and not be able to transfer the pattern onto the bread
- The fabric requires proper cleaning and washing before the bread comes in contact with it
Hopefully, you will pick one super convenient bread proofing basket substitute that meets your needs the most. As these are alternatives, the quality of the round shape and pattern will not be exactly the same as the proofing basket. But, there will be no compromise with the taste and flavor of your loaf at all.
Oh, I almost forgot! If you like to eat bread without causing too much harm to your well-maintained body shape, be sure to follow these things to bake healthier and relatively less carb bread.